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ASEPBIANNUAL The Newsletter for the Academic Success and Enrichment Programs at Barnard College A Biannual Newsletter

Issue 5, Fall 2013

Expanding Horizons in China By Naomi Dubissette

HEOP & MMUF student Christina Gee spent the summer abroad in Beijing, China. For many MMUF students, the path to wisdom is not restricted to campus but may lead to unfathomable places. Many MMUF students share one common characteristic: the desire to achieve education and understand the world around them, even if that desire may lead to an unrelenting search for answers. MMUF student Christina Gee is no different and her quest for understanding is the reason why the senior has declared a major in sociology at Barnard College. Sociology, the study of human life and how groups interact within Christina Gee, social settings, places an emphasis HEOP & on studying individuals from a MMUF Class of global perspective. Christina’s of 2014 student desire to understand the elements of on the Great Wall of China. human life from a global perspective did not cease with the end of the spring semester, but lead her to intimately learn about daily life in a follow whatever path would give her bustling, developing city. Being in Beijing answers, a path that would lead her all the challenged me to not only adapt to a new way to Beijing, China. lifestyle and culture, but also to rethink my personal necessities for comfort and happiness. I learned that an umbrella has On a thirteen hour flight, Christina Gee everyday utility as shelter against sun and traveled to Beijing not just to “see” the rain. I learned that rush hour is the worst culture as most travelers do, but to engage time to travel, but perhaps the most exciting on a deeper level. Her engagement meant too. I learned going somewhere could be as listening to the stories of her host family, becoming immersed in the culture, and self- rewarding as getting there. Perhaps most importantly, I learned the most valuable reflection at the end of the day. The result thing one could pack is an open-mind, and was that Christina gained insight not only into Chinese culture, but her own life as her the most interesting souvenir I brought back with me are my stories.” experience helped her to look inward and gain a deeper understanding of herself. As Christina writes, “for nine-weeks, I stayed What Christina achieved on her nine-week with a host-family and was able to journey is perhaps the dream of many ASEP BIANNUAL

sociologists. Not only was she able to glean insight from a new culture, but she can now apply her newfound knowledge to her own life, taking a personal approach to the study of sociology. Such an accomplishment cannot come about by reading a textbook or watching an American-Chinese representation of Chinese culture portrayed on television, but only by taking the time to really see the culture and thinking about it. Christina thanks the generous support of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, which has opened the door to access beyond what a classroom could provide. 0

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HEOP: A Haven to Achievement By Renetta Walcott, HEOP Class of 2017

Arthur O. Eve’s name is seen on the grounds of the Barnard College quad amongst the thriving green grass and flowers. During the summer of 2013, 39 young ladies were chosen to embark on the intensive academic summer program provided through ASEP. The class of 2017, at first intimidated by such a program soon learned to tackle the advanced coursework and how to navigate through time constraints related to inexperience with time management. We quickly adapted to classes like Chemistry, Biology, Psychology, Statistics, Calculus, English, and Public Speaking— while meshing required tutorial sessions into our schedules as well. Writing Fellows provided further assistance to help us improve our writing skills. We learned to write appropriate college level papers and how to take constructive criticism. Even with such rigorous academic schedules we were given the opportunity to visit Google, an Architecture firm, and a law firm. As scholars, we were able to give back to the local community by serving and preparing food at a soup kitchen and by assisting in a GED mathematics class. We even explored the possibility of graduate school as we toured an information session at the New York University Dental School.

“Not only did we learn how to study but also, how to interact as young adults.” -Renetta Walcott, HEOP Class 2017

Before the summer program concluded, not only did we learn how to study and write, but also, how to interact as young adults. Thrown into living situations with upperclassmen as Teaching Assistants, Residential Assistants, and floor mates— we scholars quickly learned that as adults both work and play come from balancing jobs and friendships efficiently. Also we were given the opportunity to meet

Barnard College Deans and President Spar. The experience helped us to apply our new social skills by asking impactful questions, taking in sound advice, and sharing our thoughts eloquently. Our blossoming friendships turned to strong bonds as we learned each other’s stories and struggles, while becoming pillars and shoulders for one another to rest and rely upon.

Looking at a Law Career By Aharisi Bonner, CSTEP Class of 2017

Visiting the BakerHostetler law firm was an informative and insightful experience. This was a unique opportunity to listen and learn from four knowledgeable and diverse lawyers. The field of law has always fascinated me and through this trip I was able to gain more insight of what entering into this rewarding field would be like. The lawyers from the BakerHostetler law firm shared their wisdom regarding overcoming obstacles within this profession, offered insights on the probabilities of achieving a satisfying job within this profession, and provided a glimpse of what a career in law would be like. Aharisi Bonner, CSTEP Class of 2017 “I was able to gain more insight of what entering into this rewarding field would be like.”

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There were two key lessons that I took away from my visit to the law firm of BakerHostetler. Those two lessons were to do what you love and that everyone has a different path in achieving a successful career in whatever field they choose.

The importance of passion was not only a principle they emphasized, but it was also something I saw within the faces of these lawyers when they discussed their individual journeys into law. I could see the immense joy their careers gave them, the love they had for the law, and the motivation they had to help their clients in the best way possible. In addition, I learned that there is no single, straight path an individual must take to obtain a successful career or to enter a particular field. The lawyers I had the pleasure of meeting had a vast and diverse amount of interests, which led them on the path of pursuing post doctorate degrees before pursuing a career in law. These numerous interests seemed to help shape their perspective on numerous things. The visit to the BakerHostetler law firm was an insightful and enjoyable one. It was a great experience to witness and talk to such a variety of lawyers in their element. ASEP BIANNUAL

“Seeing this image reminds me of the challenges that I faced and overcame, reminding me of why I must have confidence in myself, why I need to find my voice and depend on my own abilities to have a future after high school and after college.” Nicholas Carrero

Photos of the exhibit taken by Nicholas Carrero

Artistic Communication: Harlem’s Studio Museum By Nicholas Carrero, STEP 9th grader

This image resonates with me personally because in my life I have faced obstacles with verbal communication and have frequently faced times when I had so much to say and yet I became voiceless, never truly sharing what I want to share. The Body Language exhibit is entirely composed of works of art that’s sole purpose is to explore the various forms of communication, including verbal communication. I choose this piece in particular because it perfectly expresses my goal in terms of verbal communication, which is to find my voice. Throughout most of my middle school experience, one of the main consistencies in my life was my lack of participation, in most areas of my life, including academically, athletically, and even socially. Seeing this image reminds me of the challenges that I faced and overcame, and that most people have had to deal with sometime during their lives, as well as reminding me of why I must have confidence in myself, why I need to find my voice and depend on my own abilities to have a future after high school and after college. If I am not willing to take the first step towards preparing for the future, then I will have no

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future, I won’t be able to support myself, or live the life that I want to live, and the basis of all these things involves communication. The ability to communicate and openly express your ideas is the division between people that value their future and people that are not making the effort to succeed in life. All careers require some amount of communication, some more than others, and it is this communication, that determines how experienced and skilled a person is in their line of work. Communication is an essential aspect in succeeding in life, without it, people will not understand you as well and these misinterpretations can impede someone’s efficiency in their line of work. I view this artwork as inspiration for those who are not able to say that they found their voice and I connect with it deeply. The repetition of the phrase “I found my voice” adds even more depth and meaning to what the artist is saying and I completely connect and agree with the message that they send to the people that view this piece of art.

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The Spelman Switch

Exchange Student Kei Phillip Kei Phillip (KP) is currently a senior at Barnard College majoring in dance and psychology. Last spring, she participated in the Spelman Exchange program. Below is an interview conducted by Naomi Dubissette (ND) as Kei shares her experiences at Spelman. ND: Why did you choose to do the Spelman exchange? KP: It’s so easy to get comfortable in your own existence on campus. I wanted to go abroad but I couldn’t decide on a program or a country. I never had professors of color within my major, specifically psychology. It was something that I wanted--I needed that mentorship. Academically, I am accustomed to a predominantly white classroom setting and [the Spelman] program was a great opportunity. ND: Where are you from originally, you mentioned “going abroad”. KP: I have family in Antigua, I consider myself AfricanCaribbean American. And I live in upstate NY. ND: How is the campus culture at Spelman? What was the transition like from Barnard to Spelman? KP:  Spelman has a strong sense of community and tradition. Some of the differences I see between BarnardColumbia and AUC [Atlanta University Center] is that here, we like to create small community safe spaces cross-culturally based on the different facets of our identity. What I found at Spelman is that there is a stronger sense of community holistically. Every week we had Hump Wednesday and Market Friday. There was a DJ, a vendor’s fair, and sometimes food. It is a longstanding tradition where the student body comes together and enjoys each other’s company. ND: How is Southern culture versus New York culture? KP: Atlanta is a lot slower than NY which is not necessarily a bad thing. You don’t feel like you are always in a rush. But there is not as much ethnic or cultural diversity as NY and the off-campus social scene was limited to a few activities. Something that I really missed was the NYC public transportation. The MARTA system was there if you needed to travel in Atlanta but it was better to drive. One of my friends from back home gave me a tour of downtown ATL and that was really nice. ND: Were you involved in any clubs or activities at Spelman? How are they different from the one’s at Barnard? KP: I supported different groups on campus and attended various events but I was really involved in Spelman Dance Theatre. They did several showcases that semester and I was able to perform in all of them. I participated in a production called “Mash-Up.” It was so much fun; the actors, dancers, and program directors collaborated and all of our ideas and experiences were incorporated into

the final work. It was a reflection of us and the culture of historically black institutions. ND: How did the Spelman Theatre program differ from the one at Barnard? KP: The difference is that for Spelman there is a dance program that is integrated with the theatre program. You can’t major in dance at Spelman; it’s a concentration under the theatre major. Versus here, at Barnard, there is a dance major under a separate dance department that focuses specifically on dance: history, body sciences, composition, and technique. Dancing at Spelman was a priceless opportunity and unique experience because I engaged in more of the performance and theater aspect. ND: What aspect of Spelman student life would you bring to Barnard? KP: I would want Barnard to start a weekly tradition that consistently brought the student body together. The theme could vary each week to represent the diversity of our campus but it would be an event that all the students would expect and could nurture a stronger sense of community.

Kei Phillip ICP Spelman Exchange student is currently a senior majoring in Dance and Psychology

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“ASEP has been a family and a resource for me that helped me transition into the college life. It has been beneficial as it taught me the ropes of college.” -Sashani Rose, ASEP 2016

Casting the Net in Central Park The following are excerpts from a fishing trip at the Harlem Meer fishing pond in Central Park.

Harlem Meer in Central Park taken by David. A Melo

a lot of patience and quietness to sit in a courtroom and hear different stories and to hear their clients’ needs for a defense or a legal fight. Another experience that is similar to fishing is being a catcher for seafood. They would have to travel so far up the sea and they would also have to be patient when they are waiting for their catch of the day. I have to say it was a very enjoyable experience.

Greer Bizzel-Hatcher, STEP 9th grader When I woke up Friday morning, I felt We went to the Harlem Meer in Central optimistic. I was looking forward to Park to go fishing and see the home of bonding with my new friends as well as wildlife. For me, it was somewhat fun. sitting under the fresh and much needed We had to wait and wait just to come clouds that hung over the city. The walk close to catching a fish and sometimes we there was pretty draining—too many had to stay really quiet just to try and avenues, but we managed to get there hope that we could catch at least some without collapsing. While at the pond, it sort of wildlife. However, at the end of was relaxing. Sitting and not catching our fishing experience, we caught a dirty many fish but having many great old, shirt that has probably been there for conversations was very fun. One of the a few days or even weeks. One of us highlights of the trip was when Mr. Wolfe almost caught something alive but the and I were sitting and talking until Sarah fish overpowered the efforts of the felt a tug on her line. She pulled and student. My group had a conversation pulled as the two of us watched in awe as and everyone was involved. This Sarah pulls out a dirty, old, cloth. We all experience seemed as if there was some laughed hysterically as the other groups message behind it — that message was returned. We did not complain, at least that some jobs require patience and a bit not as much, and we made the most out of quietness. Many careers or different of catching no fish and being swarmed by experiences are also similar to fishing. An bugs. We made it our own experience, example of this would be the job of an and that is what made it special. artist. Artists have to be patient and wait for an idea of drawing to come to them and then they need to see and plan out Steven Navarro, STEP 9th grader how exactly are they going to execute       I went fishing only once before the this painting or project that they want to trip, and I caught so many fish. That’s work on. Another example of such a job would be being a lawyer. It would require what made me excited to for this trip. We David A. Melo, STEP 9th grader

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went to a small lake to fish after walking from Barnard College to the lake. We

went to a spot to rest for five minutes until our rods came. These rods weren’t regular rods; all you had to do is carefully hang these rods over the water. Then we split off into groups. I went with Toba, one of the program’s instructors and we looked for different places to fish. We were accompanied by other STEP students, Alex, David, and Hensley. We went around the entire lake, but unfortunately we found nothing. Looking back, it was a fun trip, and I wouldn’t mind fishing again.

From left to right: Steven Navarro, Greer BizzelHatcher, and Paola Hernandez 5

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The Spelman Switch [Continued] Exchange Student Kei Phillip ND: How did the difference in campus demographics contribute to your educational experience? KP: In a Spelman classroom, I was more comfortable; I rarely second guess myself. Maybe, because most of the people in the room looked like me and I assumed there was less judgment would be placed. If you are one of the few people of color in a class, sometimes, you are not comfortable voicing your opinion because it may not be what the majority thinks. It definitely helped my confidence being able to critically and academically voice how I felt about controversial topics. ND: How were the professors? KP: With many professors, the relationship was less formal and more personal. The typical hierarchy of the relationship was broken down to a certain extent. Of course you still respected them, but it was okay to use ebonics and I didn’t feel like “oh I can’t say this.” In one of my classes, the first thing the professor asked was “what’s relevant? what’s going on in your lives?” We would talk about the latest gossip and news. ND: Did you take any courses within your major? KP: Almost all my courses were within my majors. I took Psychology of the African American Experience, Women in Dance: Sexuality, Sexism, Subversion, Intro to Technical Design and a modern technique class. ND: Given the demographics of Spelman, how does a student stand out? KP: A lot of the students in the AUC used campaigns for student council or pageants to stand out from the crowd. Individual expression was also really important especially through dress and hairstyles. Academic competition wasn’t as prominent. Of course students wanted to do well but we didn’t consistently compare how hectic our lives were and most people didn’t take on a million extra curricular activities. In many of my Spelman classes, students also emphasized their personal experiences and feelings. How is the advisor system at Spelman, did you have an advisor or mentor? KP: My advisor was Dean Neely, the advisor of the exchange program. One of my major mentors was Tracy Lang, the Artistic Director of Spelman Dance Theatre. She really made an effort to make dance more than just performance material; she emphasized feeling the choreography through your body and in your body. Is dancing a cathartic experience for you? Yes! I love dance. Everybody has to find that one thing that they can go to when they’re stressed out and overwhelmed. You have to find that one thing that puts you in a good place. For me, it’s listening to music, renting out studio space to dance, or going to a technique class. It’s too easy to get engulfed and mentally suffocated in college.

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What are your career goals? KP: I want to be a dance movement therapist. It integrates both of my majors. As a registered movement therapist, I can incorporate non-traditional ways of physicality to help individuals resolve personal issues and relationships. I want to help people emotionally connect with their bodies and use that connection to self-reflect and self-heal. ND: Did Spelman help with career counseling? KP: Spelman definitely put things into perspective of identity and how it plays a role in what I want to do career-wise. I know that I don’t want to be a professional dancer and that dance administration is my field of choice. Spelman Dance Theater helped me get more comfortable with how to market myself as a dancer. It also showed me the best ways to organize a dance resume and how I should myself to potential employers in the field. ND: What was your most memorable experience at Spelman? KP: I don’t have one single memorable experience. My memorable experiences are with the people I met and the friends that I made. I had some amazing experiences with the other women from the exchange program and members of a student group called Illl Lyterati. I also met one of my best friends at Morehouse College and we are still very close. Whenever I think of Spelman, I think of the people. ND: How was Spelman homecoming? I heard it’s epic. KP: I was at Spelman in the spring. Homecoming is in the fall so I missed it. I want to go to homecoming in 2014. It’s a week long experience versus one day at Columbia/Barnard. ND: Can you see yourself in ATL after college? KP: I prefer New York but I can see myself visiting Atlanta. I only got a taste of Atlanta. There is so much I wasn’t able to see and do while I was at Spelman. ND: To end with something fun, describe a Barnard girl in 3 words, then describe a Spelman girl. KP: This is a really hard question. The women here and at Spelman are diverse. I see so many similarities, but to describe the two, Barnard women are: ambitious, trailblazers, and activists. Spelman women are: sisterly, leaders, and multifaceted. 0

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Writing the College Essay with Kay Prudente Kay Prudente, STEP 12th grader is currently a senior in high school who has lived in the Philippines. When asked to write an essay discussing an event that marked her transition from childhood to adulthood, Kay articulated a piece that not only testified to a Phillipina- American identity but also more complex themes of family, migration, divorce, and accepting change at a young age. Below is an excerpt from Kay’s outstanding essay: “When you lie, you steal someone’s right to know the truth.” This is my favorite quote from my favorite book, The Kite Runner. Isn’t it only moral to always tell the truth? But where do we draw the line when it comes between a child and a parent? Does the parent crumble the “truth” and hide it, or does the parent simply lay it out like a puzzle? Maybe, the parent can even “put it away” in the meantime, and hopefully, explain to the child why he had to wait for the “right time” to say it. “Forgive and forget.” It’s always easier said than done; but how can you forgive if you have’t received any “sorry”? Do you just forget about it, or do you watch the sand pile up on the other end of the hour glass. It’s been twelve years since I’ve been carrying this load. Over time, I’ve managed to stop the thought before all the memories could flood me. I was six years old, when curiosity killed the innocence out of me.” Stay way from that lady and stop talking to her,” my dad’s mom always nagged me. “She is not a good person,” my grandma would add. I was three years old when my mom first left for New York. Ever since then, I was taken care of by my extended family. My grandma was one my first moms. As a child, I always tried to be the “best” out of the four of us. I wanted to be everyone’s favorite; I engraved obedience and respect into my name. However, there were times when I felt like I just couldn’t function as a robot; I had to believe what my instincts were telling me, even if it meant to “self-destruct.” I ignored my grandma’s speeches and warnings, because I felt like I was not in the position to judge anybody, especially Cheryl. ASEP BIANNUAL

One Sunday night, we watched a movie. Midway of the movie, I got bored. Thank God I was sitting next to Cheryl. “Hey can I borrow your phone? I’m just going to play a game.” I asked. I glanced at Cheryl, then my sister, then my dad. I was greeted by “I love you. Goodnight. See you in our dreamland,” “I love you,” with kissy smiley faces. Confusion and euphoria were taking over me, of my brain has already fallen out of my head. As I read the numbers, I held on to her phone tightly. As a child, I memorized my dad’s number in case of emergency. I was breathing, blinking, but not moving. I whispered my dad’s number to myself, to feel every single one of them on my lips, and know that I am not hallucinating and making up things. I held my breath, and I picked up every piece of the puzzle: grandma’s reprimands, mom’s constant questioning of how the “girl” looks, dad getting home past midnight, Cheryl’s punctuality on our family dates, and my parents exchange of hurtful words. I spent my childhood days chewing the truth. Sometimes I was able to swallow it just for the sake of “moving on,” but there were times when I chocked on it, vomited, spited on it, and sliced it minuscule pieces. Twelve years have passed, and sometimes I can’t help the thought of blaming somebody. Should I blame my mom for not being physically there for her family because she was working in New York to provide them their needs? Or maybe it was my dad because he couldn’t help but miss my mom, and so he fantasized about her with in somebody else? I could even blame Cheryl, for not considering that my dad was already taken. I was drowned in disappointment, slapped by the truth, burnt by pain.” QUESTIONS FOR THE AUTHOR Kay Prudente’s piece discusses the psychological challenges facing children who are forced to assimilate to a new way of culture, or children who have parents who migrate given the circumstances for opportunity. Aside from a change in geographical location, sometimes what

“I want to be remembered by the person who is reading my essay. I could have talked about my accomplishments, but I chose not to, because I want the college officer to see me as a real person, going through real issues” -Kay Prudente

changes is the family, one’s identity, or a as Kay states, “truth.” To give us more, Kay answers a few questions about the process of writing this essay: What age were you when this experience happened? As far as I remember, I became aware of my grandma’s reprimands about Cheryl when I was in second grade in the Philippines. Why did you choose to make this anecdote your college essay? It was when our English professor made us do an activity, wherein we would answer each college prompt for three minutes in front of one of our classmates. This is the exact experience that “clicked” in mind, after hearing the prompt, “an event, formal or informal that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.” I am aware that this topic that I chose to talk about could be understood in a different way, about me, but I still chose to take the risk because I want to be remembered by the person who is reading my essay. I could have talked about my accomplishments and how great I am, but I chose not to, because I want the college admissions officer to see me as a real person, going through real experiences. I’ve also received conflicting advice, as to what to write about. “Treat it as like a first date…” some would say, while others would argue that I should be “original” and not be (continued on page 10) boring. 7

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Get Dreamy What are the dreams and visions of the 11-12th grade STEP Scholars? “I’m inspired by people who are able to achieve their dreams when they come from backgrounds that have nothing. It’s inspirational to see anybody achieve their dreams” -Hoi Tong Wong, STEP 12th grader “Being a black male and living in a mostly white neighborhood pushes me to push past the stereotypes. STEP has inspired me to work hard in school as well as want to go to college.” -Unique Woods, STEP 11th grader “STEP has motivated me to become a better listener, student and person. My dream job is to travel the world and become sophisticated in other peoples’ cultures.” -Devin Almonor, STEP 12th grader I would say I have two dream jobs. One dream job is in cyber-security for the government in the CIA, and the other is animating movies and developing games” -David Estrada, STEP 12th grader

“What I have always dreamed of was being a teacher, a speech pathologist. I have always seen myself working and helping kids in order for them to excel in life.” -Lesley Gonzalez, STEP 11th grader

“My dream job would be traveling around the world. My experiences being the daughter of parents who have immigrated has taught me that when you want to accomplish something you can do it no matter the obstacles that come along.” -Yukaiski Victorio, STEP 12th grader

“I see myself being a choreographer in my own dance studio. STEP has motivated me to strive for my goals and prepare for the future. My experiences being the child of a single mother has taught me to challenge myself in ways that will positively affect my future while always remaining humble.” -Amberlyn Alvarado, STEP 12th grader

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A Codenow Critique

have their work displayed in a museum. What the different ways in which artists use art to show what Harlem means to them? This was a question I hoped to answer by viewing pictures, drawings, By Tai Cruz, STEP 10th grader film, and the materials of the artists at the Tai Cruz participated in the Codenow museum. When visiting the museum the program in which she spent three months first thing that caught my attention was learning the ins and outs of the computer the first exhibit, in which the artists uses industry and visited various technology postcards celebrating the museum’s tenth firms. anniversary. Among the postcards, a specific post card hanging on the wall I had a wonderful experience at the which portrayed people opening a fire Codenow program. It was a chance for hydrant, captivated me. The reason that I me to spend three months learning and highlight this specific postcard was developing new because I felt a personal connection to codes and computer this picture as it reminds me of the programs. We were memories I have when I was a kid living mentored by one of the best programers who had a wonderful in Spanish Harlem. In this picture you can see people opening a fire hydrant on a hot sense of humor. Not only was learning day in which appears to be the summer. It about computer programing interesting, reminded me of when it became but being around people who have the unbearably warm and given that there same goals as me was very uplifting and were no pools, we would innovate, using inspiring. Throughout the three months the hydrants as our solace. As the day we went to a different technology firm every week. From Microsoft to Google it became warmer and warmer, someone was an experience I will never forget. At would say enough and open these hydrants. Once the hydrant was open, it Google, we got a chance to talk to the only took just 5 minutes until there were workers and learn more in depth as to already ten kids playing in the streets, what their jobs entail. Aside from the amazing firms we visited, we heard from happy to be cooled by water. For me this picture was nostalgic it reminded me of some very motivational people. They the fun times I had as a kid before I were really chill and gave us some neat advice. When people asked me what I did moved to a completely different area. I over the summer they are always in awe. believe that the artist that took this picture was trying to capture something that I am excited to take what I now know many people see in the streets. In other about computer programming and apply it to my future lifestyle. I hope that many places a story like this might not be the case. But if you lived in Harlem as I did, kids will also get this wonderful you would know that we are used to opportunity for such an experience seeing things like this. To outsiders, because for me, it was a life changer. occurrences such as these may portray Harlem uniquely, even in the smallest ways. I really love the way that this picture was taking something small, and By Aaron Herrera, STEP 12th grader on his visit making it important. By showing the to the Studio Museum in Harlem moment the people open the hydrant and On Friday, July 26th, we took a trip to the seeing the water start coming out, he Studio Museum in Harlem, located at 144 awakens the rush and excitement I had West 125th and many other Harlem natives have Street New when the heat has pushed us to cool off in York, New it’s comforting water. This is what I York 10027. believe the artist was trying to capture. The reason we went on a vocational ! identity experience was to see what the artists did in order to

Harlem Postcards

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Culture Shock in China By Christina Gee, MMUF Student

I am a second-generation Chinese-American and so studying abroad in Beijing felt like a personal pilgrimage to the home of my parents. Within a day of being in Beijing, after walking around, seeing, breathing, tasting, and hearing the culture around me, I encountered what we call "culture shock." Everything was so unfamiliar! I had ignorantly thought that going to Beijing would be like 'going home,' but I quickly realized this place I assumed would be 'like home' was a different reality altogether. This was the moment I recognized that geography is extremely important and influential in the cultures of the people. While China has a large political identity, the people I met are mainly defined by their geographical identity. My parents are from Canton, located in southern China, whereas Beijing was in the north. My family and I speak the Cantonese dialect, whereas Mandarin (which I was studying) other than being the official language of China is concentrated in the north. Not only was there a linguistic difference which

I was prepared for, but there was also a difference in cuisine. In America, Chinese food, as we haphazardly call it, is actually comprised of, in my opinion, the best dishes from Chinese culture. That means all the great dishes and options I was used to back home, were in actuality two or three dishes specifically from Beijing. I found myself struggling to find food I liked! Northern Chinese cuisine was heavy in oil and spicy pepper. After a long week and an exhausted tongue, I decided to actively take control of my dining experience. I spent spare time studying cuisine vocabulary and restaurant etiquette. I learned specifically how to communicate to servers how I would like my dishes prepared. I became so familiar with the menu that I no longer needed one despite frequenting different restaurants. While it would have been easy to avoid dining out during my entire program, my experience added to my education and my personal growth.

Christina Gee, with host family at a restaurant in Beijing, where they enjoyed Peking Duck, the national dish of China

Blueprints for Success By Vivienne Reynoso, BOP Class of 2017

Going to visit the Architecture firm over the summer really opened my mind to the opportunities I would soon be able to fully take advantage of in the fall at Barnard College. As the representative of the firm flipped through the slides of his PowerPoint, explaining the hard work and success that the company had encountered throughout its time of existence, I saw more than just photos. Beyond the visual explanation, I understood that, here, was a model of the success and comfort that was soon to be mine for the taking. All I needed to do was keep my head straight, and work harder than I ever had ASEP BIANNUAL

before. This trip motivated me; it fascinated me and allowed me to fully focus on the life I could cultivate for myself. The man who worked for the firm explained that he too came from humble beginnings, and his determination and valor took him to great heights – literally and figuratively. The same spirit and perseverance was something I knew I had, and so did the girls who surrounded me. As the presentation came to an end, a new world of hope and purpose had been exposed to us. I cannot express my gratitude for the insight ASEP gave me through such excursions.

Vivienne Reynoso, BOP Class of 2017

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Writing the College Essay with Kay Prudente [continued] How has this experience shaped you as a person? As a person, I think, I have become more mature than my peers when it comes to morals and relationships. It also “transitioned me from childhood to adulthood” at an early age. It woke me up from my belief of fairytales and how “perfect” marriages are. It taught me the value of a deeper and more significant respect toward my parents. At first I believed that it was both of their fault… eventually, I’ve learned to accept their decisions. It enhanced my understanding of families, personal actions, and sacrifices. I don’t think any parent(s)would want their kids to worry about their own problems… at the same time, it made me really question as to where should a child stand when it comes down to these kinds of situations. I grew up, keeping this as a “secret” because I didn’t know where to stand between my parents. As a child, I thought that that experience was just another ordinary problem that my parents were having. Do the people you mentioned know they are featured in your essay? No, no, no! What would they say if they read your essay? I think both of my parents would feel an instant slap from guilt, which is why I didn’t mention it to them. I am inferring that from my parents’ point of view, they were just protecting my innocence and my siblings’ as well. Of course, who would want to break a child’s family picture in front of them? At the same time, I think it would shake them up that their decisions as ordinary people with bigger responsibilities as parents, would affect the whole family. How did ELA improve your essay writing experience? The ELA class I took during the summer in STEP gave me a strong stand as to how my writing should be for the college essay. We looked at college essays in NY Times. The essay “From Tehran to the D Train” inspired me to choose this experience for my college essay. I think that when it comes to my own writing, I think I’ve “played it safe” throughout high school, by precisely writing based on a rubric, to get the highest possible grade. For the college essay, I approached it as my chance to 10

show and tell my “unusual” experiences in life that adds up to my uniqueness. In addition, I have also taken ELA classes in the Philippines since elementary, which helped me embrace English as my “second language.” We were always supposed to speak in English in my school in the Philippines, but because I was there, I resisted the rule. I thought, “I’m still in the Philippines, why bother speaking in English when everybody could understand me in my native language?” What is the best advice your writing teacher has given you? To be ourselves when we write our essays, and to choose the prompt that would allow college admissions officers to know us. Although you maintain that the truth “betrayed” you, you do not blame your parents, Cheryl, or your family. Instead, you seem to take responsibility for reading the text messages. Do you believe anyone is to blame? When I was a kid, of course, I thought that someone was “responsible” for everything that I didn’t know, or was not supposed to know. I was asked the same question by my English teacher at my high school when I was a freshman when I was presenting my autobiography portfolio, if I blame either one of my parents… I said no, I don’t. I fully acknowledge both my parents’ perspectives’ and decisions. My mom was in New York working and studying at the same time, while also supporting her four children (I have 3 siblings). My dad was taking care of us, along with my other family members. They risked their relationship for our future, by coming into a decision of not being together, but still taking their roles and responsibilities into account. Considering my mom’s point of view, it was probably 10 times more difficult for her to be away from us when she was dealing with this. However, at the end of the day, none of them walked away and left us. Because it happened at such a young age, this experience could have altered the way you “trust” people. Do you believe that people are trustworthy? Honestly, I can’t generalize my opinion of people’s trustworthiness. Trust for me is subjective. At the same time, I think trust goes both ways. If I tell somebody something that’s really important for me,

then that was my choice, which means that I have to deal with the consequences if the person I told was either trustworthy or not. I believe that it is also our human nature to lie. In my case, I think my parents, especially my dad, “hid” the truth away from us because he was trying to protect our innocence and preserve a kid’s idea of what a family should be, especially in a religious community. At the same time, I don’t think any of my parents were prepared to tell any of us. Some people believe that the best college essay is one that expresses not only the feelings of the writer but also the feelings of the reader. Would you say your piece does this? Yes, and no. If yes, I would’ve written a completely different essay, because then I would be trying to somehow please my reader/s. When I wrote this essay, I didn’t write it to please the college admissions officer 110%, and make them check off every box that I have achieved, as to how a college essay should be. When I wrote my essay, I tried to avoid the “playing safe” topics, and the “usual” topics, as to how we all generally “transition from childhood to adulthood.” I chose this experience because I know that not everyone has experienced this, and have grown from it. Knock on wood, I have actually learned a lot from this experience, when I know I could have changed for the “worse.” I could have rebelled, and treat my parents with hostility, but I chose not to. Is there a “title” for this essay? No. I can’t summarize what’s written in the essay in less than five words, that would really capture the “heart” of my experience. I think this essay contains more than just the concept of trust. How many drafts did you write? About four. What colleges are you applying to? Barnard, definitely. I’m giving the “big” colleges a shot such as Pomona, Berkeley, Columbia, Cornell, Brandeis and some other colleges. What do you want to major in? I’m still “undecided,” but I definitely want to be a doctor. However, I’m also not sure which kind yet. 0

ASEP BIANNUAL

About ASEP Programs

ASEP Summer Scholars

The Collegeiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) at Barnard College is a New York state funded program for current Barnard undergraduates, designed to increase access for historically underrepresented minorities or economically disadvantaged students, who demonstrate interest in and show potential for, scientific, technical, health and health-related fields or the licensed professionals. The Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) is a program for high school students that provides comprehensive science and mathematics enrichment and college preperatory support for historically under-represented and academically undeserved high school students who show promise in math and science. The Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) is a statewide program put in place by the New York State legislation in 1969. Barnard College started its program in 1970 and is funded by both the New York State Education Department and Barnard College. Barnard and The Arthur O. Eve HEOP Scholars Program give the bright and motivated students who are economically disadvantaged access to higher education. Once a student is admitted to Barnard as an Arthur O. Eve HEOP Scholar, the Program provides academic support services to ensure her success in college. The Barnard/Spelman Domestic Exchange Program: Established in 1996, the Barnard and Spelman College Domestic exchange program offers an opportunity for current Barnard and Columbia undergraduate students to undergo a semester or year-long course of study at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF): Established in 1996 for current Barnard undergraduates, the MMUF program encourages minority students, and other with a demonstrated commitment to racial diversity, to pursue academic careers. Sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, MMUF provides opportunities for the talented undergraduates to work with faculty mentors in research and other activities designed to encourage the pursuit of the PhD in the humanities and sciences. The Intercollegiate Partnership (ICP): Established in 1991, the ICP program is a collaboration between Barnard College and LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York that seeks to facilitate the transfer of community college students to four-year colleges. Sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, ICP focuses on students interested in the natural sciences.

Collegiate (HEOP, CSTEP, BOP) Sara Abedi Ariel Bershadskaya Aharisi Bonner Kadaja Brown Joselyne Chavez Kimberly Cionca Sebsanu Larissa Conteras Jamilah Corely Ana Cruz Genesis De Jesus Claudia Focacci Wan Yu Fung Manuela Hiches Tin Nilar Hlaing Tahrima Jalil Rumana Kasime Sania Khalid Dania Lewis Bella Li Jokeyni Lorenzo Danique McGowan Hannah Monizea Chantal Mota Amy Moy Quadrina Noori Amanda Perry Maria Priyma Vivianne Reynoso Luz Romero Amy Rosales Nathaly Santana Amiah Sheppard Anta Touray Ziasmin Shahanoor

Edra Stafaj Jenny Tan Renetta Walcott Anna Wen Tiana Wong Pre-Collegiate (STEP) Jennifer Acosta-Gutierrez Devin Almonor Greer Bizzell-Hatcher Nicholas Carrero Stephanie Carrero Yong Ji Chen Celine Coronado Destiny Daniels Darien Fernandez Jorge Garcia Lesley Gonzalez Sumaia Haque Paola Hernandez Aaron Herrera David Herrera Ryan Jacobson Alexander Juma Naiya Kittrell Ilyasah Long-Hamilton David Melo Sarah Nasr Steven Navarro Henzley Pierre-Louis Kay Prudente Kevin Ramirez Dennis Rodas Juan Luis Rodriguez Gabriela Rodriguez Moctar Toure Katelynn Watson Caitlyn Wilson Unique Woods

Message from ASEP

ASEP Staff

The Academic Success and Enrichment Program (ASEP) staff proudly presents the fifth issue of the biannual newsletter. We are committed to providing opportunities that will enrich and compliment the intellectual life of all students. We work in collaboration with various College offices to achieve its objectives in recognition of Barnard’s mission: to engage students in rigorous academic experiences while providing the support needed to meet academic challenges and to discover their own capabilities. Since it’s inception in 2008, this newsletter has been a medium to display the incredible accomplishments of the students within the ASEP programs. This issue is no different. It features the summer 2013 accomplishments of our scholars. As you read our stories and hear our experiences, you will understand how ASEP has played a vital role in student discovery and academic fulfillment. Thank you, and we hope you enjoy our newsletter!

Michell Tollinchi-Michel — Dean of Academic Success & Enrichment Programs Nikki Youngblood Giles — Director, ASEP Elida Martinez-Gaynor — Associate Director, Collegiate Programs Genielle Salazar — Counselor, Collegiate Programs Kevin Collymore — Administrative Assistant, Collegiate Programs Kelly Sutton-Skinner — Admissions Counselor Jason Wolfe— Associate Director, Pre-Collegiate Programs Jason Howie — Counselor, Pre-Collegiate Programs Nyoka Joseph— Administrative Assistant, Pre-Collegiate Programs

ASEP BIANNUAL

Contact Us ASEP Office 105 Milbank Hall Tel: 212-854-2024

Collegiate 001 Milbank Hall Tel: 212-854-3583

Pre-Collegiate 5 Milbank Hall Tel: 212-854-1314

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Asep fall 2013 newsletter